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November 18--  The unemployement rate in our area continues to run above ten percent and is the highest in the state.  However, even if companies have jobs to offer, some people won't work because the U.S. welfare system pays them more not to work.

{mosimage}Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says it's a problem here and abroad.

"I think anytime you put together a system where public benefits outweigh wages, you're in bad shape.  All you have to do is look around the world.  We had a group come in from a European country and they we're talking about how much they pay out in unemployment.  It was somewhere in the neighborhood of $26,000 a year and that didn't include public housing which was provided.  I asked them if they have problems finding people to fill jobs and they said yes.  Anytime you make it easy with programs for somebody not to go back to work, after a while you're going to train them not to work," Butler said. 

Meanwhile, for people who are willing to work, Butler says Georgia has a good track record attracting companies and creating jobs.

"Georgia is ranked the number one place to do business.  Just over the last 12 months, we've seen Georgia gain more than 110,000 jobs.  We're doing better than most states when it comes to job creation," he said.

The Labor Commissioner also recommends companies seek out veterans when they're hiring.

"A lot of businesses don't know they can get a $2,400 federal tax credit if they hire a veteran.  If that veteran was disabled and has been unemployed for a while, that tax credit can amount to $9,600 which is very significant.  We've seen Georgia businesses use that tax credit to get over $200 million in tax credits just this year," Butler reported.

The Labor Commissioner was in Vidalia for a speech to the Vidalia Kiwanis Club and to speak to a seminar for businesses sponsored by the Georgia Department of Labor.